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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on how business can create a more successful Scotland

07 Aug 2018

nicola sturgeon, first minister scotland

Business success is critical for Scotland's future

Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister and David Watt Institute of Directors Regional Director, Scotland

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon recently hosted a reception for the winners and judges of the IoD Director of the Year Awards 2018, where she discussed the future of Scotland’s business landscape and economy. Below, she shares her views on the important role of business in creating a successful Scotland.

Scotland has a rich business heritage. We have always been a forward-thinking and outward-looking country. Our history is liberally peppered with game-changing innovation. Whether Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone, John Logie Baird’s mechanical television or Sir Robert Watson­ Watt’s Radar, Scots innovation has irrevocably changed the way people live their lives across the world.

We are not confined to our history however. Scotland continues to drive innovation across a broad range of sectors and industries, from life sciences and oil and gas through to big data and Fintech.

As a small nation, we must look to share our innovation internationally. This is what will drive our economy forward.

Currently less than 10% of businesses in Scotland export. We must build on that number by exporting the fantastic products and technologies we manufacture and create. By focusing on our innovative abilities, we can develop ground-breaking technologies and return an immense boost for our economy.

Our drive on internationalisation, infrastructure investment, innovation and fair work is gathering pace and our business tax policy is purposefully designed to accelerate growth. This Government will continue to meet and listen to business and trade union leaders to focus our actions on business growth, jobs and fair work.

Businesses are, after all, the lifeblood of all of Scotland's success - they are employers, educators, partners, and modernisers. They produce and inspire the leaders that will shape civic life across our nation for generations to come. Business leaders are increasingly leading the way in creating a far better workplace for employees, focusing more than ever on sustainability, inclusiveness and employee wellbeing - both as a benefit to employees, but also as a key element of commercial competitiveness.

Mental health in the workplace is featuring more highly on the boardroom agenda and creating a structure and culture in which workers can thrive mentally as well as physically is now a key consideration for the economic performance of a business.

Business is key to the success of Scotland, and in order for Scotland to continue to thrive; we must lead the way in innovation, focus on driving increased productivity and look to our leaders to be outstanding exemplars of best practice. I want Scotland to be the best place to live, work and invest and the economy is a key part of that. We are a government committed to growing the economy in a sustainable and inclusive way - Scotland has huge economic potential and we are determined to work with business to unlock it.

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